Nelson County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: August 3, 2006
Author: Scott Surgent

Our big hike day: 12 mile AT hike to bag both Maintop and The Priest. Started early and were blessed with cool breezes and a break in the heat. Our tiny rental car was not up to the road to Crabtree Falls, so we parked near the Fish Hatchery and bagged both in one long journey.

Made Maintop in a little over an hour and, in another three hours, visited the extended summit area (and rocky outcrops) of The Priest. We used reports from CoHP and our own judgment regarding the various rocks on The Priest. Don't miss a small side trail that heads north about 100 feet to an amazing, open view of the crest of the range! A small rock 'arrow' was our only hint - otherwise we would have walked past it too.

On the way out, we descended to the road (SR 829) and walked it out to the paved highway (SR 56?), then back to the parking lot near the Fish Hatchery. It actually didn't add any mileage versus retracing the route along the AT, with much less overall gross gain.

No more than a tenth of a mile from our car, literally in front of the homes and the hatchery building, a vicious thunderstorm built up and starting dropping lightning. One bolt landed right beside Beth! A worker leaving the Fish Hatchery saw this and doubled back to give us both a ride - for 0.1 mile - to our car. He was insistent and we took the offer. A very active last few hundred feet, for sure. The storm knocked out power to the immediate area.